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Communion 2010

Unity

Originally scheduled for January 17, 2010

Perhaps you have not heard this, but it is true: Communion is necessary for unity. The word itself originally meant, “a sharing.” From the root of this word we get words like “community” and “common.” It is a term of togetherness.

It is first a source of personal unity – unity within the soul. In Communion we return to first principles, the essentials of the faith. We remember that our very definition as Christians – those saved by grace – comes from the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. That sacrifice is symbolized here; the cup his blood, the bread his body.

Unity within a person is usually called integrity – from the root word for integer, or oneness. As we reflect upon our souls, we enter a time in which we correct ourselves in self-examination. We turn from being inconsistent towards God to being one with God – the ultimate form of integrity.

There is also a unity which Communion provides within the church. You are what you eat – spiritually as well as physically. Your doctor prescribes a diet for your physical health; Christ prescribes a spiritual diet for your physical health. We are all on that same diet. Indeed, we are said to partake of one loaf because we are one body. Think of it this way: in a restaurant the meals are served individually. In a home they are served family style. When you eat family style, you are part of the family.

The unity within the church is also built by shared experience. This meal reminds us that each of us is a sinner; each of us heard the Word and accepted God’s grace; each of us is growing in Christ. We are all on the same path.

Finally, there is a sense of unity which comes from the fact that you are either a Christian or you are not. Those who are Christians are told that they cannot be “of the world.” They are in the world, but not of it. You are in, or you are out. If you are in, you share this spiritual meal.

But this spiritual meal does have something to say to the world. For by taking it, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again. Our unity is seen in this: in our most important rite, we tell the world the news of God’s grace. We tell the world of God’s love at the Cross. We tell the world Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. We are one with him – and this meal shows it.

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